Each year, on the last official day of work, our Bendigo site hosts the Jonty Blackley Memorial Car Show. The show provides staff, both former and current, with the opportunity to share their passion and enthusiasm for all different types of vehicles.
The show is named as such to commemorate the life of Jonty Blackley who passed away in 2022. Jonty was a passionate car enthusiast, key organiser of the event, and a vital part of the Thales team at Bendigo.
The first Thales car show was held in 2011, with only 12 cars taking part. Over the years, participation has steadily increased and, in 2022, there were over 100 participants.
The event isn’t just for past and present Thales employees, but also suppliers who make the brilliant work at Bendigo possible. The show is open to all vehicle types: from old muscle cars and hot rods, to race cars and go karts. Last year’s show saw the debut of Protected Vehicles (PRV) special vehicle, the Hawkei 'Project X'.
Project X is based around a Hawkei command cabin, but modified by a team of Thales car enthusiasts who replaced the Hawkei’s traditional 6-cylinder 3.2 litre diesel engine with a V8 8.8 Litre supercharged petrol engine. Project X also caught the attention of Thales Australia CEO Jeff Connolly and former CEO Chris Jenkins who were in Bendigo for the event.